Rethinking circular economy

It was in 1991 when the then chief economist of the World Bank, Larry Summers, had advocated that toxic waste, polluting factories should be moved to least developed countries

Sunita Narain

Photo: Reuters

I am inside a dark and dingy “factory”, looking at plastic waste being recycled. This was after I went to see how plastic waste — from our homes — was being separated and traded by the poor in our city. “Where does this plastic go?” I had asked in Tikri, located on the outskirts of Delhi. “To Bawana and Narela (industrial areas also in Delhi),” I was told. So, here was I, standing inside one of the many factories that buy this waste and recycle it. Recycling is a big word, but what does it mean?   It goes broadly like this. This waste has to be segregated carefully as each factory can process only one type of plastic. It is first cleaned in vats, then boiled, heated and made to run through coils until it becomes like wire. This plastic wire is shredded into granules of plastic, which is used again to make new products. The people doing this work are poor and the working conditions are pathetic. But they do it for their livelihoods
Disclaimer: These are personal views of the writer. They do not necessarily reflect the opinion of or the Business Standard newspaper

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First Published: Jul 01 2019 | 12:36 AM IST

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